“Nancy Ellen, won’t you stay to supper with us?” asked Kate.
“Yes,” said Nancy Ellen, rising, “I haven’t had such a good time in years. I’m as glad for you as I’d be if I had such a child assured me, myself.”
“You can’t bring yourself —?” began Kate.
“Yes, I think so,” said Nancy Ellen. “Getting things for Little Poll has broken me up so, I told Robert how I felt, and he’s watching in his practice, and he’s written several letters of inquiry to friends in Chicago. Any day now I may have my work cut out for me.”
“Praise the Lord again!” cried Kate. “I see where you will be happier than you ever have been. Real life is just beginning for you.”
Then they went home and prepared a good supper and had such a fine time they were exalted in heart and spirit. When Nancy Ellen started home, Kate took the baby and climbed in the car with her, explaining that they would go a short way and walk back. She went only as far as the Peters gate; then she bravely walked up to the porch, where Mr. Peters and some of the boys sat, and said casually: “I just thought I’d bring Little Poll up to get acquainted with her folks. Isn’t she a dear?”
An hour later, as she walked back in the moonlight, Henry beside her carrying the baby, he said to her: “This is a mighty big thing, and a kind thing for you to do, Mrs. Holt. Mother has been saying scandalous things about you.”
“I know,” said Kate. “But never mind! She won’t any more.”
The remainder of the week she passed in the same uplifted mental state. She carried the baby in her arms and walked all over the farm, going often to the cemetery with fresh flowers. Sunday morning, when the work was all done, the baby dressed her prettiest, Kate slipped into one of her fresh white dresses and gathering a big bunch of flowers started again to whisper above the graves of her mother and Polly the story of her gladness, and to freshen the flowers, so that the people coming from church would see that her family were remembered. When she had finished she arose, took up the baby, and started to return across the cemetery, going behind the church, taking the path she had travelled the day she followed the minister’s admonition to “take the wings of morning.” She thought of that. She stood very still, thinking deeply.
“I took them,” she said. “I’ve tried flight after flight; and I’ve fallen, and risen, and fallen, and got up and tried again, but never until now have I felt that I could really ’fly to the uttermost parts of the earth.’ There is a rising power in me that should benefit more than myself. I guess I’ll just join in.”
She walked into the church as the last word of the song the congregation were singing was finished, and the minister was opening his lips to say: “Let us pray.” Straight down the aisle came Kate, her bare, gold head crowned with a flash of light at each window she passed. She paused at the altar, directly facing the minister.